President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
September 29, 2023
Note: Suzanne Clark will be in Japan on October 1 – 7, 2023, for the 60th annual U.S.-Japan Business Conference Ahead of her trip, she published an op-ed on challenges and opportunities in the bilateral relationship in Nikkei Asia.
With shared values, Japan and U.S. can lead way on challenges
In this new era of countries challenging the rules-based international order, it is more important than ever for the U.S.-Japan alliance to be strong.
Together, our two countries share a commitment to freedom and democracy, free enterprise and open markets, and the rule of law. These values form the basis for our joint responsibility to lead global efforts and tackle our shared challenges.
That will be my message as I lead a U.S. Chamber of Commerce delegation to Tokyo next week. We will meet with business leaders and government ministers as we host the 60th U.S.-Japan Business Conference.
As the world's largest business organization and community, the U.S. Chamber, through the U.S.-Japan Business Council, is proud to work alongside our counterparts at the Japan-U.S. Business Council to promote free markets, advance free trade and enable private enterprise. The Japanese business community is one of our most valued allies in support of this mission.
Our alliance is well-equipped to thrive in this new era. Together, the U.S. and Japan have spent decades building an economic relationship that serves as the cornerstone of stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
Thanks to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's tremendous leadership of the Group of Seven this year, broad consensus has been achieved on a number of issues, including significant progress toward addressing the economic disruption created by certain countries' nonmarket economic policies and practices.
Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who earlier this year held their first bilateral summit in 12 years, met together last month with U.S. President Joe Biden in what the Japanese leader called a "historic turning point" in the trilateral relationship.
We have complex challenges to grapple with. Trade is critical to economic growth and job creation, yet key U.S. leaders have shown little interest in pursuing market-opening trade deals, leaving America the odd man out in the Indo-Pacific region.
The U.S. Chamber appreciates Japan's continued efforts to urge Washington to reconsider its current position on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, launched by the Biden administration, represents an opportunity to establish fair and transparent trade principles for the region and beyond, but we must first address significant concerns about its lack of ambition regarding the creation of new opportunities and the need for enforceable commitments, particularly on digital trade.
When it comes to climate change and clean energy, the U.S. and Japan have an opportunity to show real leadership. Each of our governments has ambitious climate goals, but it is important that they are achievable, durable and developed through an open and collaborative public process.
Fortunately, Japan has already shown signs of taking a pragmatic approach to energy security and of recognizing the need to make use of transition fuels, like natural gas, to meet existing energy demand while advancing shared climate goals.
Most importantly, the world is depending on the U.S. and Japan to lead at a time when many countries have turned inward and civil society is under pressure from heavy-handed authorities.
We know that the fates of pluralism, the rule of law and free enterprise are intertwined. If we do not define the global landscape and unapologetically stand up for the values that have allowed our nations to build one of the most dynamic, diverse and resilient economic partnerships in the world, others will fill the void. They will not hesitate to ramp up unfair trading practices, economic coercion and national security threats, and we should not hesitate to meet these challenges head-on.
In his recent address to the U.N. General Assembly, Prime Minister Kishida stressed the importance of working toward "a world filled with cooperation, not division and confrontation."
The challenges and opportunities of this century require a strong alliance between the U.S. and Japan to marshal those efforts. The bond between our nations is based on shared values the world desperately needs right now. We must lock arms, face outward and lead together.